Photo of David Preston

David Preston Mµ Trio, Worcester
Music Spoken Here at The Marr’s Bar, Worcester
Thursday 22nd February, 2024

While heavy rains and flooded roads accounted for more empty seats than we would have liked on Thursday, The Marr’s Bar was nonetheless filled with the brilliant music of David Preston, with his new act Mµ Trio playing their first gig outside of London.

The room fell silent as Preston’s bright, melodic solo guitar opened the first set, subtly incorporating a dusting of drums from Joel Barford and a tidy anchoring from Conor Chaplin on double bass before opening the piece up with delightful interplay between the three. Chaplin then featured, followed briefly by Barford (a short-notice dep for Jeremy Stacey, who got pulled away to play in LA earlier in the week), proving early on that he was more than up to the task.

The second piece, Blues for Klemens, was a trio arrangement of the piece recorded on Preston’s recent ‘Purple / Black’ album. Preston’s distinctive, bright tone again called the intricate melody, while Barford’s busy, yet soft style added colour as much as rhythmic punctuation and Chaplin held everything together, taking another delightful solo towards the end.

The set progressed with currently unrecorded pieces Osara Codes and Elves, the former named after Orsara di Puglia in southern Italy, in which Barford opened up and let rip on the kit. This piece in particular demonstrated the complex, rhythmic interplay that Preston is drawn to, as he mentioned in our interview, aired a few days before the gig. The first set closed out with Decko.

Music Spoken Here interview with David Preston

After a short break, the trio returned to the stage, opening with an intricately syncopated motif from Barford, breaking momentarily into a high-speed car chase swing before dropping back into the provocative rhythmic anchor, with Preston’s melodic noodling continually exploring the space between.

Preston’s expressive solo guitar then introduced Vader, with Barford again adding colour and rhythmic context, leading into another captivating solo from Chaplin. Another brand new, as yet untitled piece followed and the second set closed out with the energetically agitating Circle 7, a reference to the time signature, with Preston’s guitar tone embellished for the piece with a touch more distortion than previously apparent.

The small audience made big noise in appreciation, and their calls for an encore were rewarded with the trio’s rendition of Horace Silver’s dreamily evocative ‘Peace’, bringing to an end an evening of exceptional new music from an incredibly talented trio, each making their Worcester debut performance!

Preston will be returning to the West Midlands in what will hopefully be a less waterlogged spring, appearing at the Birmingham Jazz Festival at 1000 Trades on Saturday 11th May with a trio featuring Tom Farmer on bass and Martin France on drums.

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